Graphic Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Post by
William Griffiths
Graphic Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Graphic Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

While some may like to believe that great graphic design appears out of thin air, it doesn’t. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. It takes hours of hard work and dedication to reach absolute comfort, and even then, a great deal of care goes into getting it just right. So, today, we thought it’d be a good idea to run through a few of the critical steps to nailing a graphic design piece.

The importance of a structured graphic desire process can’t be overstated. It’s all about bringing design ideas to life in myriad ways. You’ve got to meet client requirements, enhance creativity within logical frameworks, and generally hit the target set out by the client. It’s not easy, but it's worth the trouble when you get something you can be proud of.

A handful of these entry points may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times people can fall short of the mark. Whether it be one or more of these points, rushing through and forgetting to complete due process can be easy. With that being said, let’s dive into it.

The initial brief

At the heart of your project, you will have a design brief. This initial idea is what will hopefully set you up for success in the long run. You’re going to define your goals, aims and strategies for executing the design, and although this may be just the first step on the ladder, it’s vital to have a broad outline of what you want to achieve.

It doesn’t have to be particularly long or contain much detail. What it should do, though, is communicate the vision you have in your head. Sure, you’ll participate in a meeting or two that properly illustrates what you have to do, but taking it to the next level comes down to your own ingenuity.

Graphic design research

Is it sometimes tedious to think that research will take up much of your time in this process? Perhaps. Is it absolutely essential that you get it done to the best of your ability? Yes. From looking at what competitors have done in similar instances to figure out the kind of style you think will work best, it’s definitely in your interest to conduct extensive research.

Who knows, it may take you in a different direction you didn’t think possible. It does not always give you the answers you need, and perhaps the first idea is the best one, but you aren’t sure that unless you try. If you’re working on a particular design, avoiding plagiarism should be at the top of the priority list.


Whether you use old-school pen and paper or go online to get the job done, it’s time to brainstorm. This is where you come up with as many different ideas as you can, experimenting with different colour palettes, mood boards, pictures, and more. If anything, we’d say this is the most fulfilling part of the process.

It may even help to schedule a brainstorming session with a few of your colleagues or perhaps even the client you’re catering to. The official production of the work isn’t yet underway, but there are so many different elements to consider that it’s good to get it all out on paper or on the screen. From there, you will have a better idea of where you’re heading.

Developing the product

This is where things get really interesting. The development of your design can take a couple of hours or a couple of days, depending entirely on the scale of the project. While you may feel a bit uncomfortable with endless drafts that you aren’t happy with, it’s essential to refer back to them to understand what’s going right and wrong.

At this point, it’s all about having that focus. You need to be able to zone in on the end goal and have a clear, comfortable picture of the result in your mind. Even if you have to leave a design overnight and return to it in the morning, it’s better to do that than run yourself into the ground. In essence, we’re saying take your time, which is becoming a bit of a running theme.

Getting feedback

It may not feel like an absolute necessity, but it is. When your work is being examined through a different set of eyes, it can greatly impact how you perceive it. After investing so much time and effort, you can get tunnel vision and lose the ability to look at things objectively. If you start taking on a more collaborative approach, you’ll soon begin to notice a shift.

This needs to be done at various stages of the design process, really, to ensure you don’t go into trouble completing a near-finished product before realising that not everything is as it seems. It increases productivity, gives a designer a fresh outlook, and allows you to refine ideas to ensure that you’re properly aligned with the client’s expectations.

Revise and finalise

Throughout the graphic design process, you need to use various tools and software to get your product to a point where you’re comfortable, all of which can aid the process. That goes from initial sketches to final designs, and if you want to edge over that finish line, it’s all about taking on the notes that have been made and finalising the content to the best of your ability.

It’s about double- and triple-checking the work you’ve done up to this point, recognising the different iterations that have come into play along the way. From there, you can start to liaise with the client and open up about the positives and negatives and how to proceed from here. It’s enlightening, really, and it’ll benefit you in the long run as a designer.

Final thoughts

One of the other factors that we believe needs to be discussed is the art of time management. As we’ve mentioned, some designers are eager to finish one piece and get started on another as quickly as possible. Alas, while we understand the instinct to rush, time blocking will help massively when budgeting how many hours you can afford to spend on any particular part of the journey.

What we’re saying, in essence, is don’t be a hero. From welcoming others into your design process to ensuring you maximise everything you do, there is no time to be selfish. You have to be able to take a step back and look at the forest through the trees, understanding that the purpose of it all is to put a smile on the client’s face - even if you have to complete a few side missions along the way.

Here at Hatchly, we focus our energy on unlimited graphic design services. Our dedicated professionals are constantly on the move, giving you the very best content at a reasonable price.

If you’re interested in learning more about what we do, check out our website - or feel free to get in touch!

William Griffiths
Founder & Creative Director

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